"Over correcting will lead to many deaths, and moving the stick a millimeter is over correcting."
Fireburst is a game that calls back to the racing games of old: fun, fast, and full of action. In some respects it does this well; however, more often than not players will find themselves frustrated with the game’s core mechanics. At its best, Fireburst is a burst of hectic fun. When that burst is over though, it returns back to its usual state of bland.
The first thing you’ll want to do is jump right into a race. The second thing you’ll do is, obviously, notice how the cars handle. Fireburst does a great job at reminding you of your first time driving in Grand Theft Auto IV: slipping and sliding all over the place. It’s an interesting design choice to coat all of the roads in butter, but it adds a level of skill that no one asked for. Over correcting will lead to many deaths, and moving the stick a millimeter is over correcting. A majority of these deaths will come not from other drivers, but from overly strict boundaries. Getting used to the lack of traction doesn’t take too long, but a relapse is easy and common.
What Fireburst does right is focus on the action. There is no story to bog you down, no mandatory tutorial, and you have access to all of the game’s content from the start. Unfortunately, the open nature of it all is also a bit of insight to the game as a whole: it’s shallow. There are few things to unlock, and all of it is cosmetic. New racers and cars are cool, but when those are the only goals, it’s a let down. Additional maps, modes, and attacks would be a huge plus to the game that would keep myself and others coming back. Besides, the best character is playable from the start; it’s hard to top a dancing midget whose catch phrase is “I’m the richest.”
"Unfortunately, the driving mechanics aren’t rewarding enough to keep more traditional racing fans interested."
Lack of content isn’t the only way that Fireburst is shallow as a whole. After a few races and demolition matches, you’ve seen everything the game offers. Drive fast, burst your car into flames, kill other players, repeat. The fact that different cars have different attacks is negligible since they all have the same effect. Each attack results in cars near you exploding due to flames. There are no ranged weapons, only close proximity explosions. This is what sets Fireburst apart from Twisted Metal and the likes, but it also makes me wish I was playing Twisted Metal. Unfortunately, the driving mechanics aren’t rewarding enough to keep more traditional racing fans interested. Without variety in combat and shallow driving in a driving action game, what are you left with?
During the stretches of the races without any action, it’s easy to appreciate the visuals of the game. The environments have a large draw distance and the tracks themselves are easy to get distracted by. The downside to this is that it is quite apparent that several of the assets used in the game are stock from the Unreal Development Kit. This is painfully obvious due to the repeated trees and such, plus the leap in terms of quality from the character models and menu background to the environments of the races.
All of this said, Fireburst isn’t a bad game; it’s just not great. As I stated above, there are bursts of chaotic fun. A car exploding and flying off the map at high speeds is always exciting; however, that excitement can only last for so long, and it can only be exciting for a limited number of times. At the end of the day, it can give you and your friends a good time for a short while, but there are better insane racing games out there that will keep you satisfied for a longer time. I guess Fireburst is a cheap whore as opposed to a steady lover.
Review by: Chris Lohr | Reviewed on: Xbox 360